by Kristen C. Strocchia
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews11:13-16
Abel who was murdered, Enoch who was raptured, Noah who endured the flood and the devastated world thereafter, Abraham and Sarah who left their earthly security for the promise of a land they’d never seen–none of these received the promise in their lifetimes. Some saw miracles. Some saw blessings for their obedience. Some were commended by God. But none of them saw the true fulfillment of the promise before they died–because each of their promises, as ours, would be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.
But even though they did not see Christ in their lifetimes, these godly men and women still lived their lives by faith–absolute certainty in what they hoped for but could not see.
They were able to say, like Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah after them, that, “The God we serve is able…but even if He does not…” He is no less God and we will not bow down to any other [Daniel 3:17-18].
Because of this steadfast faith, the world saw each of these biblical heroes as foreigners [aka aliens] and strangers on this earth. They didn’t live like all the peoples around them who put their trust in money, or governments, or education, or houses and clothes, or the work of their own hands and the strength of their own character. No. All these trusted in God alone for the present life and the hereafter.
They lived their earthly lives like they were citizens of heaven. And because they lived by heaven’s laws and were unashamed to proclaim their heavenly citizenship in word and obedient action, God accepted them as exactly that–citizens of heaven, even while they lived on this earth.
Which laws do you live by? Yes, we must obey earthly rules and regulations, God instituted all authority and commands us to do so [Romans 13:1]. But the laws of heaven should govern our daily interactions with God and other people.
Does your life and daily living show that you are a citizen of heaven?